Celtic play down injury fears over Scott Brown and Kris Commons

Brown is congratulated for his performance by manager Neil Lennon
Brown is congratulated for his performance by manager Neil Lennon

Celtic manager Neil Lennon played down fitness fears over Kris Commons and Scott Brown in the aftermath of their progress in the Champions League.

Commons was stretched off during , but Lennon said it was a "soft tissue" injury rather than ligament damage.

And it appears that Brown is overcoming a hip injury that was expected to require surgery.

"He's sort of made a remarkable recovery really," said Lennon.

Brown revealed prior to the Group G game at Celtic Park that he had cancelled an operation on the on-going problem that has dogged his season.

Kallstrom lands a high tackle on match-winner Commons
Kallstrom lands a high tackle on match-winner Commons

The Scotland midfielder was again substituted, coming off eight minutes from the end against Spartak.

But Lennon said: "He was just starting to tire with cramp. But, again, it was a good performance from him.

"He's talking about putting the surgery off, but we will assess that over the next couple of weeks.

"We don't want him to go for the surgery. But, if it's a necessity, we'll have to look at it.

"He has felt very good for the last week - 10 days and we've sort of drip fed him into games. But that's not ideal, so we'll discuss it again.

"I don't want to force him into anything he doesn't want to do, but the medical team will take care of it."

Commons, who had scored what proved to be the winner from the penalty spot, was stretchered off five minutes after Brown's departure after a heavy tackle that led to Kim Kallstrom's dismissal.

"It was real sore one," said Lennon. "He got a stud in his upper thigh, a lot of swelling, so he's in a bit of discomfort at the minute.

"I doubt whether he will be fit for the weekend.

"At first, I thought it might have medial ligament damage, but it's actually soft tissue in the thigh area. It was quite a heavy blow."

Lennon did not rule out making new signings but said his priority was agreeing new contracts for striker Gary Hooper and midfielder Victor Wanyama.

"We'll have a chat and see what our options are," he said.

"What I would like is to get a couple of players tied down on contracts.

"We are still in negotiations with Gary and Victor. So, if we can get those two tied down, that would be fantastic.

"I'm not too sure too many players will want to leave in January with what we've got coming up."

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